A great game for beginning readers is the Super Why ABC Letter Game by University Games. It helps with all the reading basics like letter recognition, word meaning (selecting the correct word for the sentence), rhyming, and letter sounds, as well as counting to 4.
You can play as one of the four show characters: Alpha Pig, Princess Presto, Super Why, or Wonder Red. The youngest player goes first, spinning the spinner. They move the number of spaces the spinner lands on, and draw a card to match the space they land on.
The goal is to have the most cards when you reach the finish circle, but you only get cards if you correctly perform the instructions on the card. The child doesn’t need to be able to read the card, they just need to have someone to read it to them. Just like the show (see review here), the cards for each character match their ability or talent. This means that a card for Wonder Red would involve rhyming, and a card for Alpha Pig would involve letter recognition. If you couldn’t point to the correct letter for an Alpha Pig card, you don’t get the card.
We tend to work with the kids a lot to help them get the cards, and I think there have only been a couple of times when we didn’t end up giving Bobble a card. He had the most trouble with the concept for rhyming, and always tried to change the end sound instead of the beginning sound. (Example: If you said Cat, he would think Cake rhymed because they both started with the same sound.) This game has helped him understand rhyming, but it took a while. The only time he ever didn’t get a card, it was a rhyming card, and it was after working with him for a while to try and help him get it.
Eventually the whole game was way too easy for Bobble with the exception of the rhyming, so we changed the rules to him needing to answer one of each of the 4 types of cards correctly when he lands on the finish circle. If he doesn’t answer all 4 cards correctly, he has to wait until it’s his turn again, then he has to answer all 4 again. This was helpful for those games where he got lucky (in his eyes) and didn’t land on a Wonder Red circle at all. Since that’s what he needed to work on, at least it encouraged him to learn the skill so he could win the game… and he loves winning.
Super Why is available at Amazon for around $20 and can be found at some retail stores like Target or Kmart.